Haute couture faces down Paris fear with puffs of tulle – The Australian Financial Review

Fashion folk would be the very last to assent to the notion that orange can ever be the new black, so it threw couture goers a major curve ball when Giorgio Armani presented a collection dominated by the challenging colour at his Armani Prive show. If there’s one place you want to make a statement, however, it’s on the red carpet, and you could only wonder which tangerine creations Oscar nominees Nicole Kidman and Isabelle Huppert were earmarking for the Academy Awards ceremony as they sat front row.

A fashionista who baulks at tangerine is probably never going to be a client of Jean Paul Gaultier, the designer renowned for his maverick, over-the-top and sometimes controversial collections. For haute couture he looked back to the excess of the ’80s via the ranch, with 57 looks that combined country elements such as headscarves, plaits and denim with city disco stalwarts including high-shine finishes, transparent lace body suits and acid brights.

A more sober vision of luxury came at Valentino, where designer Pierpaolo Piccolini presented his first collection following the departure of his design partner Grazia Chiuri. If he was feeling the pressure, he didn’t show it.

This was a study in effortless grace, quiet strength and confidence – achieved via simple column gowns and elongated silhouettes softened with fragile, gently fluttering fabrics including chiffon, crepe and tulle. Inspired by Greek myths, the classical shapes, clean proportions, precise pleating and muted colour palette offered a soothing palate cleanser after the week’s avalanche of sequins, feathers and tulle.

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